Medina Township asking for more coverage from Hudson 7.1.09

Written by David Green.

A fire protection contract expired Tuesday between the Morenci Fire Department and Medina Township, but that doesn’t mean fire trucks won’t respond if a call comes in.

“I want to be clear that there’s still going to be fire protection regardless,” said township supervisor Jim Craig. “I talked with [fire chief] Chad Schisler and if the need is there, they’ll respond.”

The thing Craig can’t be clear about is how negotiations between Morenci and Medina are going to turn out.

Morenci Fire Department is seeking a 10 percent increase in the cost of fire services—an annual increase of $1,946—the first rate increase since 2003.

The township board countered that offer by suggesting that if there’s a 10 percent increase, then the township should be allowed to bill insurance companies for fire calls and apply those payments to the city’s fees.

Council debated the request at the June 8 meeting, but in the end declined to alter the contract.

This prompted Medina officials to contact the Hudson Fire Department to see if there was interest in increasing their coverage to about half of the township, since that department’s charge is less than Morenci’s.

Craig estimates Hudson’s current coverage at about a third of the township. Morenci and Waldron fill in the remainder of the coverage area.

“The only way that we would ask Hudson to cover the entire township is if the City of Morenci is unwilling to negotiate,” Craig said. “We don’t want to end our relationship with Morenci. We just want them to negotiate with us.”

Craig said the township should be allowed to bill insurance companies for calls.

“That should be our decision, not theirs,” he said.

Craig said an addendum to the contract was added in 2004 that gave the city the right to keep insurance payments in lieu of increasing the contract rate.

Morenci administrator/city clerk Renée Schroeder said insurance payments came in  for one Medina Township call in 2008 totaling $691 and from three in 2007 totaling $2,252.

Craig is hoping for some flexibility from city council and a rapid resolution of the issue.

Craig expects the expansion in coverage by Hudson to include ambulance service, also, rather than sending fire vehicles from one city and rescue from another.

Morenci response:

With the Medina Township fire contract due to expire at midnight June 30, Morenci city council met in a special 7:30 a.m. session Tuesday to discuss the issue.
The following motion was accepted 4-0, with Greg Braun, Jason Cook and Art Erbskorn unable to attend.
    Pennington moved and Schell seconded that the City of Morenci will continue to provide fire protection service and operate month-to-month if Medina Township pays monthly based on the current proposed contract while the township checks their options and the city checks their legal and moral obligations under state laws and mutual aid agreements.   Payments due on the 15th of each month in the amount of $1,783.83, first payment being due July 15, 2009.  All votes yea, motion carried.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
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    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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